RE: Romans 1:23,25,26 - (MET)ALLASSW + EN/EIS

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Sep 06 1997 - 11:09:52 EDT

At 11:36 PM -0500 9/5/97, Eric Weiss wrote:
>Eric Weiss (I) wrote:
>Can I assume that there is a distinction in meanings in these verses
>depending on whether EN or EIS is used? = 23 "they exchanged the glory
>of God FOR (EN) a likeness..." 25 "Who exchanged the truth of God FOR
>(EN) a (lit. "the") lie..." 26 "For their females changed the natural
>function into (EIS) that which is contrary to nature..." That is, when
>the thing and that which it is exchanged for are two different things
>(e.g., God and images; the truth and the lie), EN is used, but when EIS
>is used, it is because one thing is being talked about as being changed
>into something else. If so, many translations fail to bring out this
>distinction - the least they could do would be to translate the first
>two with "exchanged...for" and the third with "changed...into."
>In the ensuing discussion, I'm not sure my original question got
>addressed. Or perhaps Carl's impression answers my question, i.e.: 1.
>(MET)ALLASSW with EN + dative = instrumental implies 2 different things
>are being discussed - "thing A" and the "thing B" BY WHICH "thing A" is
>(ex)changed - but "thing A" and "thing B" still remain "thing A" and
>"thing B" even after the (ex)change; 2. EIS + accusative implies that
>the one "thing A" is itself changed/transformed INTO something else - so
>that "thing A" no longer exists or acts as "thing A" but is now a
>changed "thing A."

Perhaps this note is superfluous in view of David Perkins' excellent
response, and I particularly like his allusion to the process in Genesis
2-3: there is an intensification in the process of human apostasy: it
begins with debasement of the human thought process and it issues in
debasement of human selfhood and human interrelationships. So I'd really
like to get away from "(ex)change" as an English equivalent for
(MET)ALLASSW and suggest for the first two instances "alter" and for the
third "radically transform," though admitting that these still may not be
the very best words. I think, however, that Paul is suggesting that
idolatry begins with a (wilful) misperception of humanity's relationship to
the Creator and Creation and issues in an ascription to Creation of the
status of the Creator and worshipping it (by actions).

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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